USC Women Lock In On Trip To Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals
March 7, 2013
Oregon State was shooting better from 3-point land than from the floor as a whole in the first half, landing four 3-pointers in an effort to keep pace with the Trojans. USC was effective in getting to the free-throw line, with 10 of the Trojans' 23 first-half points coming from the stripe. USC was up 23-18 on the Beavers at the break, shooting 24 percent from the field to trail OSU's 29 percent through the first 20 minutes of action.
Both teams heated up in the second half, but the Beavers got even hotter from beyond the arc. The Trojans thwarted that 3-point effort with a concerted push to get to the free-throw line. USC hit 35-of-46 free throws to outpace the Beavers' 10 threes. Ariya Crook and Cassie Harberts sank 10 free throws apiece, and Christina Marinacci was 9-of-10 from the line.
Crook finished with a game-high 17 points, with Harberts next with her double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds. Marinacci also hit double figures for USC with 13 points. The Trojans shot 29 percent in the game and outrebounded the Beavers 64-57 while forcing 15 OSU turnovers.
OSU was led by 13 points from Ali Gibson, with 12 coming from Mollee Schwegler -- all on 3-pointers -- and 10 each from Jamie Weisner and Alyssa Martin. The Beavers shot 36 percent from the floor in the game, thanks to a 44-percent effort from 3-point land.
After OSU nailed a three to cut the USC lead to two, the Trojans capitalized on steals by Christina Marinacci and Ariya Crook. Crook slipped in a cool four straight free throws, and Cassie Harberts added another to lift USC ahead 12-5 after 10 minutes of play. OSU was shooting just 17 percent from the floor to that point, but got a three and a jumper to go next to tighten things up again. The Trojan shooting percentage was beginning to slump. USC had been getting to the line, but the Trojans hadn't hit from the field for seven full minutes until Crook finished a take to the hole to make it 14-10 USC with 6:50 to go in the half. The Beavers grabbed their first lead on a 3-pointer with 4:30 to go, only to have Crook answer by burying one of her own 15 ticks later to get USC back up 17-15. With two more free throws from Harberts and Marinacci down the stretch, USC kept some padding to lead 23-18 by the close of the half.
USC got whistled for more fouls in the first 3 minutes of the second half than it did the entire first half, but USC was undeterred and countered those five quick fouls with some key steals and finishes to get up 29-23 with 15:51 on the clock. The Beavers' first foul of the half came at 15:46, putting Harberts on the line for a pair and a 31-23 lead with the Trojans on a 6-0 run. OSU snapped a 7-0 USC by dumping in a pair of Schwegler threes during an 11-0 Beaver run that stole the lead for OSU up 34-32 at 13:00. Harberts converted from the stripe to stop the run and pull the game even at 34-34 with 12:50 to go.
Harberts got USC back the lead on her ninth straight points with two scores down low, lifting USC up 38-34 with 11 minutes left to play. OSU would slip back into the lead a couple minutes later, but USC steeled itself from there. Alexyz Vaioletama scored to equalize 41-41 at 8:40, and Brianna Barrett planted two free throws next to give USC a lead it would not relinquish. It was a two-point game with 6:36 remaining before Crook took a charge and OSU was dealt a technical foul. Crook made the most of her visit to the stripe as USC moved along to a 54-45 lead after a clutch bucket from Kate Oliver and two more free throws from Marinacci. OSU got back to within four with 2:13 to go, only to see USC dig in from the free-throw line as the Beavers saw three players foul out down the stretch. In the final minute, Crook hit 3-of-4 tosses and Marinacci completed one last visit to the stripe with 5 ticks to go to wrap up the first round as a 64-57 USC victory.
The Trojans will face No. 2 seed California tomorrow (March 8) at 12 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle.